CD REVIEW The Gathering

Band: The Gathering
Title: Disclosure
Label: Psychonaut Records
Distribution: Soulfood
Release date: September 12/09/2012
Review: CD

This Dutch act is such a band that did evolve permanently throughout the years. Once they started up as a mostly original Doom-Death Metal-inspired band, with characteristic magisterial keyboards (their earliest efforts, demonstrational + the debut full length Always are divine material to/for/within my person), and slowly they did evolve into a (female-fronted) Gothic-inspired Melodic Metal band (there was some mistake in between, yet let’s skip this unnecessary information – even though it wasn’t that bad, as a matter of fact, that Almost A Dance-album). With Anneke van Giersbergen (now in Agua de Annique), The Gathering sort of reached an international cult-status, and yes, when talking about an album like Mandylion, the first with Anneke, I cannot but amplify: WAW!

Change of style again, turning from a more Gothic-oriented form of slightly emotional Metal (Mandylion) into alternative Rock / Metal...In short, further history: Anneke left, weep weep weep…

Then finally, Silje Wergeland joined (think: Octavia Speranti, or session / live assistance with Syrach, Tristania, Katatonia and Arcturus), as from Psychonaut’s The Westpole (released May 4th 2009). No more weeping, yet a modest hurray… This album, The Westpole, wasn’t that bad at all, even though nothing was left from the band’s origins. And it’s in the vein of that album that Disclosure goes on to the utmost extent, and not in the least either.

The break with the past is enormous this time. Nowadays we’re talking ‘bout a modern form of Alternative Rock, barely Metal-oriented, with a Progressive side and a loungy atmosphere. A few times The Gathering dwell on Pop-spheres too (“Meltdown” a.o.), yet luckily this is not the general trend. I need to mention Silje’s unique vocals, of course. I will never hide my passion for Anneke’s fabulous voice, but let’s skip the past; Silje is now in da house and she’s doing a great job too. From time to time, and that’s something I do appreciate a lot, she wants to continue the experienced timbres of Anneke, and even though the voices an sich aren’t parallel, the approach is comparable. Different timbres, a dominated use of vocal cords, and lots of variation and experiment, ranging from warm and full to integer and quasi-whispering, sometimes emotive, then again filled with power and strength…

When it comes to the music (again), the variation must be mentioned as a surplus too, I guess. As mentioned before, sometimes it’s much too neo-poppy, this Post-Rock-oriented effort, yet it does include more than a handful of psychedelic, atmospheric or epic passages, with oriental or mysterious / magic / mythic elements. And even the earliest years with Anneke return from time to time – listen for example to the heavier parts of tracks like "I Can See Four Miles" or "Gemini".

Pfff, I’m confused. I do miss the early years, of course (up until the debut Always), I do miss the first Anneke-involved records (Mandylion and, even though in a less convinced way, Nighttime Birds), but even though this is a totally different approach again, I still am not able to completely dislike this stuff. It’s just not the band I used to like so enormously, yet … No, I still can’t explain, but let’s conclude with: Disclosure is a surprisingly nice album, done by one of Holland’s most notorious acts, and appreciable if only it were for its uniqueness and abhorrence of the ordinary.

85/100

Ivan Tibos.